These are stories told by social workers from UNC Children's Hospital. Your generous contributions touch lives like these.
Nick had a traumatic accident on a four-wheeler years ago. As a result of his previous injuries, the 11-year-old has frequent hospital admissions with his complicated health needs. His mother accompanies him during hospitalizations and his father comes to NC Children’s Hospital to be with him when he is able. The family struggles financially, especially due to the cost of gas incurred by driving to and from the hospital and their home, which is in rural NC. Gas assistance through Carolina For The Kids has helped to ease some of that stress and allow this young boy's family to be with him while he is hospitalized.
Stephanie is a 4-year-old with chronic lung disease who travels 3 hours each way for routine clinic visits. She had 6 visits to our pediatric specialty clinics in 2010 which meant missed work for mom and an increase in out-of-pocket charges since they incur co-pays and co-insurance for each visit. Stephanie’s father’s work hours in construction were cut last Fall and the family has been playing catch up since. Her father has been back to full-time work in recent months, but the family is still having difficulty catching up with bills from the winter. They owed a large amount to their electric company and requested assistance with this balance to avoid termination of service. Stephanie also has 2 other siblings in the household, further straining the family’s finances. Dance Marathon contributions to Carolina For The Kids provided assistance with a large portion of their balance with their local electric company and that family now finally feels that they are caught up with most of their bills without worry about making sure their basic needs are being met.
Haley was admitted for a routine surgery, but she faced complications that led to a much longer hospitalization than expected. This was then followed by a stay at a pediatric in-patient rehabilitation facility out of town. The teenager's mother usually worked part-time to pay the bills, but she was unable to work regularly while her daughter was hospitalized at NC Children’s Hospital and in rehab. The family was running behind on their gas bill. However, through Carolina For The Kids, they were able to keep their utilities running while Haley recovered.
Mark is a newborn who was prenatally diagnosed with hypo-plastic left heart. Prenatal images showed a significant cardiac defect and the parents were told intervention for this condition would require multiple surgeries over the baby’s first few months of life. Prognosis for long-term survival was considered extremely poor. Post-natal images confirmed the severity of the defect and Mark’s parents decided to pursue a palliative approach to his treatment. The patient’s mother planned a natural childbirth so that she would be alert enough to spend time with her newborn in the minutes after his birth, not knowing how long he would survive. Mark’s father was actively involved in his care from birth and Mark was surrounded by family members during hospitalization. The day after his birth, Mark was able to go home with his parents and grandparents under pediatric hospice care. Mark's parents were hoping to have him cremated after his death. However, a hurricane destroyed their home and their financial resources were extremely limited. With money from Carolina For The Kids, UNC Children's Hospital was able to cover the cost of cremation, alleviating the concerns that were plaguing the family during their limited time with their newborn.
Statement by UNC Children's Hospital
My name is Chris Sellers. I am a case manager at UNC Hospitals. I have been working with pediatric patients and their families for the past several years. In this time, Dance Marathon has assisted our families in tremendous ways. Here are some recent stories of some families we have been able to assist in their time of need. Though the assistance you provide is financial, the relief it brings to the family is so much more. These families are dealing with the idea of losing precious time and memories with their child and in the worse situations, the loss of their child all together. Unfortunately the day-to-day responsibilities of work, paying bills, and tending to their other children does not stop. Assisting these families, with monthly bills, rent, and other daily expenses that become heavy burdens and most times can be impossible, allows the parents to focus on their child in need. My department and I appreciate all that you do in your planning and organizing throughout the year to ultimately give back to those families who are in such need. Thank you and we look forward to our continued work together for all of our families here at UNC.